British Columbia

Federal court orders man who supported ISIS on social media released from detention

The Federal court of Canada ruled on Tuesday a man who praised ISIS on social media should be released after being detained for four years.

Othman Hamdan has been detained for 4 years

Othman Hamdan, then on trial on terrorism-related charges, shields his face from the media on his way into a bail hearing in Fort St. John, B.C., on July 15, 2016. (Brett Hyde/CBC)

The Federal Court of Canada ruled on Tuesday a man who praised ISIS on social media should be released after being detained for four years.

Othman Ayed Hamdan, a 38-year-old citizen of Jordan who had lived in northern B.C., was acquitted in September 2017 of four terror-related charges, including counselling the commission of the offence of murder and instructing, directly or indirectly, any person to carry out a terrorist activity.

But immediately after his acquittal, immigration officials arrested him on the grounds that he posed a "danger to the security of Canada." He was ordered out of the country and was being held pending his deportation.

Hamdan was originally ordered to be released Aug. 2 by an Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator who said he should not be detained indefinitely, but the Canada Border Services Agency appealed the decision, arguing he remained a danger to the public and should remain in custody while the agency took steps to deport him. 

On Tuesday, the federal court dismissed the appeal and ordered his release.

"Mr. Hamdan does not pose a danger to the public if released with appropriate conditions," Federal Court Justice Alan Diner ruled.

"The danger was mitigated, and the situation militated toward release after about four years of detention with no conviction."

Final details are being worked out, and Hamdan will be released into the custody of a friend near Salmon Arm, B.C., who is posting a $2,000 bond. 

He must also abide by 25 conditions, including not using social media or having access to the internet. Hamdan is also not permitted to drive and must obey a strict curfew. 

Hamdam was arrested after the RCMP identified him as the person behind Facebook posts supporting jihad, calling ISIS "the solution to all our problems," and praising the gunman who killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo on Parliament Hill in October 2014.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan. She is also the community reporter for CBC's virtual road trip series Land of Living Stories. Laura previously worked for CBC Vancouver. Some of her former work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, NYLON Magazine, VICE Canada and The Tyee. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from the University of British Columbia. Follow Laura on Twitter: @MeLaura. Send her news tips at laura.sciarpelletti@cbc.ca

With files from Manjula Dufresne

now